Although most people regard hockey as the most popular sport in Norway, football is also widespread here. It is evident in the number of amateur and professional football leagues. In addition, there are many Norwegian players at top European clubs because the country’s sports schools are uniquely prepared to bring up young talent.
Features of playing in the first division
The country’s first division has been particularly successful in this, with some teams even officially regarded as farm teams. They consistently supply new players to the country’s top division and abroad. Young players go through strict schooling in the first division, where the game is less technical and depends more on physical qualities. It helps them cope with a heavier workload in training and teaches them to minimize injuries from the contact game.
You can see 792 scored goals in 241 games in the last season at Norway – 1st division table. It means just less than three goals per game. As you know, the goals-per-game ratio in the higher leagues is much lower. However, for this division, it is a reasonably consistent figure.
The increased goal practice allows the young Norwegian players to gain many practical skills in the game. Moreover, it concerns not only forwards but defenders and goalkeepers as well. Players who have been through Norwegian sports school are never afraid of the ball, can swap passes, and are excellent team players.
Why do people in Norway love the first league so much?
If you ask the average Norwegian what team they support, the answer is likely to be either the English giants or a local Norwegian club. This duality is not accidental. Most Norwegian clubs are teams with rich football history. You can find them at the last century’s beginning or the bygone era’s end. At the same time, football was also born in England. These were two parallel processes, and fans in both countries followed each other’s successes. The tradition of cheering for English clubs has remained ever since. Meanwhile, each Norwegian town and company had its team. Boys who lived and grew up in neighboring yards went to school together, worked in the same factory, and played for them. It was impossible not to keep cheering for them. This tradition has survived to this day. Nevertheless, whereas previously, preference was given to foreign teams, now domestic ones are in the first place.
People like to watch a game in the first division for several reasons:
- The presence of familiar faces in the team. As the clubs are often based on towns and businesses, the entire city’s male population naturally cheers for that team.
- Bright and dynamic football. As already mentioned, in the first division, the team scores an average of 3 goals per game. That is a lot more than in the top leagues. Fans do not like to watch “dry games.” The more goals, the better for them.
- The lack of technique is compensated for by the spectacle of the game. For the first division, it is not rare to see the rough play, violent tackling, punches, and other things.
The referees are generous with yellow and red cards. Injuries are not uncommon and brutal ones too. This rough play is a favorite with the restrained Norwegians.
What other characteristics are specific to Norwegian football?
Although we spend the article talking about fans and their love for clubs, most people think football is less prevalent in Norway. This misconception is because it is challenging to meet supporters outside the country. Therefore, only the most dedicated fans follow their idols everywhere. However, the reason for this is relatively economical. Traveling from Norway is expensive, and most prefer to follow their home clubs.